Latest figures reveal the city centre station remained the most used around God's own county during a year that saw Britain’s passenger usage drop 78 per cent compared to the previous 12 months. This was the lowest level of journeys seen since at least before 1872 and is a result of the pandemic.
The numbers are revealed in the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) estimates of station usage 2020/21 statistics, which include the annual total of passenger entries and exits at each of the 2,500+ stations in Great Britain.
Leeds had 5.8 million passenger entries and exits between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 - underlying its importance as a key interchange and destination for the train travelling public during the pandemic - despite an 81% decrease in passenger numbers compared to 2019-20.
The top five most-used stations across the region remained the same as the previous year. Sheffield recorded 1.9 million entries and exits, York had 1.8 million while Huddersfield and Doncaster had 1 million and 890,238 respectively. ORR’s stats reveal Stratford railway station in London as the most used station in Britain, recording nearly 14 million entries and exits in 2020-21 (13,985,162).
It is the first time in 17 years that London Waterloo is not the most used station. The London station saw the biggest decrease in passenger usage, with 12.21 million entries and exits compared to the 86 million in 2019-20.
Nearly 200 railway stations across Britain had fewer than 1,000 entries and exits, with six recording no entries or exits during the last year as a result of services temporarily suspended at the majority of these stations due to the pandemic. here were 18 stations with less than 20 and 59 with less than 100 recorded entries in 2020-21.
Feras Alshaker, director of planning and performance at the Office of Rail and Road said: “Leeds has consistently appeared as one of the most used stations outside of London and it is clear it remained a key destination for many passengers through the pandemic.
“We have seen hundreds of railway stations with very few passenger entries and exits. However, we know that recent figures show leisure journeys are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and there is a slower increase in commuter journeys.”
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